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MMOWGLI: The Game is On

Posted for The Patuxent Partnership

Today, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014, the NAWCAD 2030 Strategic MMOWGLI Game begins as the Naval Post Graduate School launches its latest version of the Massive Multiplayer On-Line War Game Leveraging the Internet, otherwise known as cloud sourcing. Today’s game seeks to develop a strategic plan for the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division.

The game is open, the portal to join or to access the play and results is linked here. Play will run 24 hours a day for 14 days. The input will be parsed, but it is the algorithms of the game itself that establish the paths and the strategies the game’s dialogues have developed.

This is “the first time a world strategic plan has been crowd sourced . . . [it will] model a new paradigm,” said Dale Moore, Assistant to the Commander NAWCAD for Strategic Operations, and Director, NAWCAD Strategic Cell.

“How many people think the world is a volatile, uncertain place right now?” he opened his eighth Strategic Thinking brief, a series sponsored by The Patuxent Partnership. “How many people think it is probably going to get worse? How many people think that naval aviation plays a key role in stabilizing the future?” Hands rose at each question. “So that’s what this challenge is all about. We’re taking on this approach to leverage the crowd and their ideas to help address our future.”


MMOWGLI was developed jointly by the Naval Post Graduate School and the Institute for the Future as a web-based collaboration tool.

The game as well as crowd sourcing was described at a prior strategic briefing by Mr. Moore and Karen Cooper, Research Scientist, NAWCAD Strategic Cell, Code 5.0e, NAWCAD.

“It is a message based game,” Ms. Cooper explained. In 140 characters players put one idea on a card. One thought on each card. Piles of meaningful cards grow, attrition abandons piles of non-meaningful ones. As the cards multiply, the algorithms sort and categorize. But the big deal is that lots of different people are contributing ideas.

Historically a limited set of decision makers map the strategies and build the plans that carry forth actions. But problems have increased in complexity. Crowd sourcing, which brings together the ideas of large, diverse groups, is proving capable of creating larger congregates of knowledge than those assembled by specialized, limited sets of experts.

The result through the MMOWGLI games is the drawing and harnessing the collective potential of the crowd and offer players a more gameful, democratized way of engaging with a scenario.

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